Investigation Finds More Wrongful Detentions
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 22, 2006
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA--Commonwealth Ombudsman John McMillan has identified 10 more people with mental illness who were wrongfully detained by immigration officials in recent years, The Age news service reported Friday.
McMillan investigated the Immigration Department following revelations that officials wrongfully held two Australians with schizophrenia, Cornelia Rau and a man known only as "Mr. T", for several months.
The 10 new cases will be added to a list of 50 other cases of wrongful detention that the ombudsman office has investigated. So far, nearly 250 cases have been referred for investigation of wrongful detention.
Rau was released in February 2005 from the Baxter detention center in South Australia after being improperly held for ten months. Rau had walked away from a psychiatric ward in Sydney the previous March and was picked up by Aborigines in northern Queensland, over a thousand miles away. Police found no identification on Rau, who gave them a number of false names and answered them only in German.
Immigration officials, believing her to be an illegal immigrant, transferred Rau to Baxter to be housed with 255 other inmates. At one point during her stay she was held in seclusion for two months -- against advice of mental health experts.